In the Papers: 25.02.08. Keeping fit with Charlie
First off, we can dispense with the weekly Recession Watch; today's Telegraph reports that house prices have fallen for the fifth month in succession. Housing-market related-silliness continues unabated however, we are reassured, in Rock, Devon. Saturday's Daily Mail reports on a £2.5m house being marketed for sale with planning permission to knock down the existing 1950s home to double the square footage with a new house valued at – you guessed it – £4m+!
The Guardian's Jonathan Glancey lunches with Richard Rogers, has a trip round his exhibition at the Pompidou Centre and learns that the Parisian landmark hoovers up 20 per cent of its annual £75m budget on maintenance, a concern that will be familiar to Church of England fund managers this side of the Channel.
The Telegraph reports on a row between church commissioners over what to do with its considerable assets. Owner of some of the grandest palaces in the country, the bishops' residencies are worth about £120 million but cost up to £9 million a year to maintain. While the Church of England is custodian to homes such as Rose Castle, described as Wordsworth and Coleridge as 'all-but-perfect', some of its clerics have asked whether it is justifiable to retain luxurious palaces while parish clergy struggle to make ends meet; to hold on or to sell?
Seguing seamlessly from bishops to sex scandals, Saturday's Times reports on the Australian town planner embroiled in a 'sex-for-building-consent' scandal. Not letting planning's reputation as a dull process get in her way, 32-year old Beth Morgan allegedly 'demanded sex in exchange for approving millions of dollars worth of unlawful developments'. Undercover corruption investigation officers exposed a series of liasions between Morgan and property devlopers, said to have approved £63 million of buildings in return for gifts and sexual favours. The furore has been dubbed the 'Mile High Rise Club' by one Australian tabloid.
According to TheSunday Telegraph homes supplement, it has never been easier to build your own zero-carbon house. This is certainly the view of several of our parliamentary representatives. The Independent, in a piece trailing Caroline Flint's speech to be delivered this Wednesday in which she will commit to 'ambitious targets' for eliminating carbon emissions, documents various politicos' approaches to minimising their own carbon footptrint. Offerings range from Labour MP Bob Marshall-Andrews' green home, designed by Jan Kaplicky, to David Cameron's west London home equipped with rain-water harvesting tank and solar panels.
And finally, ladies and gentlemen; courtesy of Scotland on Sunday, The Heir to The Throne. Sticking on the subject of waist-conscious leaders, HRH Prince Charles has weighed into the debate over obesity, backing a new community in rural Scotland designed to keep weight off its inhabitants. Not quite Poundbury, the development has Scottish tenements with no lifts, is well-lit to promote walking and is plumbed into nearby cycling routes; that's right peeps, its the first 'trim town'!